Vermont Colleges and Universities Announce Vaccine Requirements | Off Message

Vermont Colleges and Universities Announce Vaccine Requirements


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As Vermont colleges and universities weigh reopening procedures for next fall, some institutions have already issued guidance on COVID-19 vaccinations for students and employees.

On Thursday, Champlain College in Burlington announced that it would require all students to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester, pending U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the vaccines.

Under the current emergency authorization order, some experts contend that vaccine mandates exist on shaky legal ground. But full approval will make such requirements "a little more feasible," John Grabenstein, a former executive director of medical affairs for vaccines at Merck and a former Department of Defense immunologist, told NBC News.

Pfizer filed a request on Friday for FDA approval for its COVID-19 vaccine, a process that public health officials estimate could take up to six months.

St. Michael’s, a private Catholic college in Colchester, will also require students to get vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall, according to spokesperson Alex Bertoni.

Employees, Bertoni said, will be “strongly encouraged” to get shots.

Norwich University, a private military academy in Northfield, will reopen with the “expectation” that all students, faculty and staff be vaccinated no later than August 1, said Daphne Larkin, Norwich’s director of media relations and community affairs.

St. Michael’s, Champlain and Norwich will all grant exemptions for documented medical and religious reasons.

Middlebury College plans to announce vaccine guidance early next week, according to spokesperson Sarah Ray; University of Vermont spokesperson Enrique Corredera told Seven Days that the administration has not yet determined vaccination protocols for next year.

Across the country, the Chronicle of Higher Education has identified 228 colleges and universities, both public and private, that will mandate vaccines for students or employees.

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